Students had nothing to protest against Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia University?


by Setareh Sabety

I just read the Columbia Iranian student’s news release about Ahmadinejad’s invitation to that illustrious institution of higher learning and was disgusted. Does our youth in America put their careers above everything? Does the youth in America not feel angry enough about anything to take even the slightest risk? Is the youth in America actually middle-aged? The Columbia Iranian Student’s new release read like a Mattel disclaimer. First and foremost it declared the non-political nature of the Association.

Apparently the bright young Iranian student at Columbia are more concerned about organizing cultural “functions” and “events” than about supporting the very real struggle of their fellow students back in Iran. They prefer to spend their time and energy on explaining the Half-seen to the Americans than on protesting stonings and torture in their country of origin. We sit here in front of CNN and lament the fact that Ahmadinejad has become a household term in the West but we are not willing to fight. No, we are too concerned about our own individual interests.

A line in the news release urges people, of a more fiery temperament I suppose, to consider the “sensitive position” in which the poor Iranian students at Columbia are being placed and be tolerant of their differing perspectives. The student at Amir Kabir University risk their lives and go to jail for openly calling Ahmadinejad a dictator but the “Iranian-Americans” at Columbia are afraid. Leave them to their books and to organizing Now Rouz parties. Fund-raisers for Encyclopedia Iranica after all, much safer gatherings!

The Iranian students of Columbia University, who should be the youthful leaders of a resistence and opposition movement against the Ahmadinejad regime, are not planning a big protest nor a demonstration like that which preceded the fall of the Shah when he visited Washington DC in the late seventies.

No acts of civil disobedience are in the plans nor enactments of the stoning of young women nor the hanging of homosexuals by our bright Iranian students of Columbia University. No, instead they have decided to treat the Ahmadinejad visit to their University like an “Introduction to Middle-Eastern History” lecture, only a ‘discussion’ session has been planned after the speech in the “safe” environment of a room 569 in Lerner hall. Might as well organize a group therapy session where the students express their ‘feelings’ about the controversial president.

With an attitude like the one expressed by the Iranian students of Columbia University how can the secular opposition to this theocratic regime have a chance in hell of making a difference? Here on one corner of the ring we have a president and his followers who believe in the imminent coming of the Mahdi and are willing to die for their beliefs and on the other corner we have no one really organized or angry enough but the Mojahedin Khalgh, which everyone but themselves despises.

Reza Pahlavi can’t get a few hundred people to hop a bus with him to New York. No, he prefers the safety of Voice of America studios a couple of exits away from his home to express his disgust with the Islamic regime. He should change that Lion with the Sword emblem in the middle of his beloved flag to one of a pussy cat sleeping. Why doesn’t anyone tell this guy that if you can’t get a few hundred people to come out and support you it is time to throw in the towel. Googoosh has more national stature than Reza Pahlavi!

Nor are the others in our community any better. On no occasion do we hear a unified cry of opposition no collective show of malcontent is ever manifest. The Mojahedin Khalgh are the only ones who make it to the news. Where are our professors and intellectuals who live abroad? What do they fear? Not being able to visit relatives back home? Not being able to go and do research in Isfahan? Do we sell our love for Iran and her people so cheap? Unfortunately we do.

Take a look at the brave Lebanese MP’s who continue to go and sit in that devastated and constantly targeted parliament. Not one of our fast-talking chest-puffing opposition leaders have the courage of those Lebanese legislators. Nor do they possess the graceful valor of the Burmese monks. Our noble prize winner, Ms. Shirin Ebadi, never does anything, since she won the prize, to get her arrested. Until we are willing to take at least a minimal amount of risk we are nothing but impotent voyeurs in a game played with an adversary who is much better equipped both ideologically and morally.

As it is we are giving secularism a bad name--for Iranians and many people in the war thorn region, it has come to connote a total lack of courage more than anything else.


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Send me a ticket

by S Sabety (not verified) on

First of all I am not sure if it was really you who wrote me the response to my article. I sure hope that you have more savvy advisers around who could come up with a better retort than the one you posted. The retort, "why don't you do it yourself" is better suited to the children's playground and is essentially fallacious. It is about as weak as, "If you don't like it here why don't you go back home." In case, however, it is indeed you who wrote to me, here is my answer:

First, I will most certainly come to New York next time Ahmadinejad is there if you send me a ticket from here (France) to there. As it is I am a struggling single mother of two who works as a teacher and cannot presently afford, it is with shame that I confess this, a trip across the ocean.

Second,If my late father was a king instead of a poet I sure hope I would be better at being a leader than you haven proven--at least that is if I chose, like you modestly claim to have, to be the beacon of the opposition to the mullah regime. As is I risk more by writing like this and still visiting Iran than you have ever done.

Third, the students at Columbia should indeed be offended, as much as you and everyone else whom I address in my article. The whole point of the piece was to wake people like you and them to wake up. To make you think about your political impotence and the utter lack of passion that feeds it.

Fourth, if you really need ideas about how to organize against this regime I would be more than happy to share them with you any time you like. here are a few thoughts on the matter:

I think a good place to start is to form a 'coalition for a secular Iran' and bring together under one umbrella everyone, regardless of ideological leaning, who wants a separation of mosque and state in Iran.

Then use this group to lobby the international community and support the home-grown movements in Iran. Such a coalition must embrace the dovom khordadi's as well. It should stay clear of the nuclear issue, which is loaded with nationalistic thorns and instead focus on human rights violations. God knows there is enough to fight for there.

Close work with NGOs that are working hard to help those most hurt by the problems brought about by this regime is essential. Instead of surrounding yourself with your fathers octogenarian advisers and their offspring go talk to the bright young Iranians that have devoted their lives to helping Iranians under the most difficult of conditions.

For your own future political prospects I would recommend spending a little money and hiring an American PR firm. An old bit of wisdom is that leaders win their position of leadership through valor and bravery--show a bit of that!

So voila my two bits if you really are Reza!
Warmest Regards,



by ferdos (not verified) on

It is truly disgusting to read some of these comments.
if Setareh Sabety writes an article, then she should
get emails that are polite even if people do not agree with her. This new format in is not becoming of a web site that allows a dialgoue among people. I think it gives a space to
those who only use foul language to make their points
and what are their points? only disgusting language to discredit a writer.


Rostam be mokh!!

by Anonymous 2 (not verified) on

After 8 year of imposed war when these criminals in the west sold every type of weapon and Chemicals to kill iranians, and all the killings in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places, it amazes me that these sold out souls still defend the policies of the west. Anyone with brains who has followed US and western policies know that there is no such thing as democracy for Middle East and its all about free oil. As article below shows from (Al Ahram), the CU president is nothing but an stooge of Israel. I still defend my positon as every publication from Central/South America to ME and even Israel has praised Ahmadinejad's response in the fiasco at CU!!

The Israel lobby has reacted to the UCU's move in Britain with an academic "shock and awe" operation. What I am referring to is the one-page advertisement in The New York Times 8 August, paid for by the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The AJC assembled for the ad the signatures of more than 300 American college and university presidents endorsing a statement by Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, that pronounces an identity of interests between US and Israeli universities: "for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you [the UCU] are seeking to punish." It then menacingly takes the logical step: "Add Columbia to the boycott list." This way the battle is shifted to the enemy's turf: if you boycott Israeli universities, we will boycott you -- a British eye (and a Palestinian one as collateral damage) for an Israeli eye.

The ad places Bollinger's statement inside a frame at the centre of the page, flanked by presidential names on all sides. The design, together with the first person form Bollinger uses in the statement, intensify the power of the message and give it a sense of urgency. The text is short, terse and declarative. It does not indicate the reasons that led the UCU to pass the resolution after a long and open exchange, making those who backed it sound like extremist airheads. Contestation is the lifeblood of democracy and intellectual advancement, but the big guns do not seem to feel they owe anyone a rational counter-argument.



by Reza Pahlavi (not verified) on

Dear Setareh,

Sounds like maybe you should organize a demonstration next year when Ahmadinejad comes back. If it disgusts you so much you should take the helm, and the associated responsibility, as well as the consequences of those actions. It is always easier to blame someone else for their inaction than it is to take the action yourself.

If I was one of the students you were criticizing I would be offended by your letter. I would have expected you to come to Columbia, banners of protest waving, before you had the right to write such a letter to me.


Reza Pahlavi


Dear Setareh, Sounds like

by Reza Pahlavi (not verified) on

Dear Setareh,

Sounds like maybe you should organize a demonstration next year when Ahmadinejad comes back. If it disgusts you so much you should take the helm, and the associated responsibility, as well as the consequences of those actions. It is always easier to blame someone else for their inaction than it is to take the action yourself.

If I was one of the students you were criticizing I would be offended by your letter. I would have expected you to come to Columbia, banners of protest waving, before you had the right to write such a letter to me.


Reza Pahlavi


You Crazy Anti Bahai Man

by No Religion (not verified) on

We are first Iranians period. Keep your crazy religion to yourself. I really don't care for your Muslin religion either but your religion is your freakin' problem.


Of course, and as it is

by Z (not verified) on

Of course, and as it is becoming more and more clear, in this webpage there aren't any Israeli firsters of the maniacal kind who write comments and insults, while trying to accuse anyone who doesn't want Iran to be bombed and attacked of being pro-Islamic Republic. ;) On a general note, screw maniacs and extremists of all kinds and types and without exception, they're the ones screwing the world, all of them.


CU Iranian Students

by yaz (not verified) on

Are you kidding me?
Has any one of you visited the Iranian Students of Columbia university's web page .
there is nothing but parties and fun..They are all little rich spoiled kids.
So are most of the Iranian people in Ny city.


You fucking Bahai

by Anonymous123 (not verified) on

Hi, We are first Iranian and then muslims. You are a fucking Bahai without a country. We know our Regime is not perfect. We will deal with it ourselves. We are not going to dish out our dirty laundry to fucking Americans.

P.S. Long live Iranian people who hate bahai's more than any species in the world. Because of your fucking democracy under Shah we are in this mess today.


YOU: tsinoizitna

by khashmgin1 on

What anti-Iran crap? YOU are anti-Iran asshole. Attacking you revolution? Your REVOLUTION? We dont want to attack your revolution, we want to FUCK your revolution and all of your kinds.


What a son of @#$... He talks about "they" bringing pure destruction to our beautiful country... Hey idiot, havent you gotten this in reverse? You are beyond "keshideh", slaps wont wake you up, what you need is a good fuck in the ass so that you can wake up.


The namak be harrom says that our priority should be to minimize fear. You @#$ idiot, your fucking IRI goverment is maximizing fear among iranians, imprison them, torture them, kill them and you badbakht zalil mordeh come here in the US and say this crap while you are loafing off here on Iranians's money?


Go fuck yourself asshole.


Anonymous2 Exposed....

by Rostam on

Anonymous2, look who is talking. You say that "This is a typical CIA operation in which they pay good sum to thugs to come and protest and then try their smear campaign to make a monster out of a character."


This reminds more of the Hezbollahis operations. It is amazing how a thug who climbs people's walls comes around and complains about other thugs climbing people's walls. YOU ARE EXPOSED.


The idiot also says this: "This whole charade showed what the true meaning of democracy and civil society means" What about your IRI charade? Do your damned leaders know even what civil or democracy means??? YOU ARE EXPOSED.


God bless the mullahs??? What kind of garbage are you?


God Bless the Brave Students of Iran...

by Ali Reza (not verified) on

Why should God bless students taking orders from the arab-wannabe fascists in Tehran? Instead, God should bless the hundreds of brave Iranian students who fight with what little they have against the greedy and selfish blood-sucking mullahs. God should bless the families of those who were hacked to death and thrown out of windows in 1999, while two-faced charlatan Khatami smiled for the world.

Jeesh Daram

Yep! those were the days

by Jeesh Daram on

Good points brought up by Setareh and also by Foad and MrClass.

In early 70's Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi and his gangs used to come from Houston and visit different universities and distribute cash among the leaders of ISA (Iranian Student Association). Yazadi those days approached and recruited many Iranians for their plots to push Iran back to dark ages and they succeeded. The entire plot was drawn and executed by the British.


As for Setareh's disappointment with the students I think it's more of a trend than an exception these days. In 70's students were indeed more involved and challenged the authorities, while in 90's and these days students are more concerned with not missing their health clubs for lifting weights, facial massage (men I am talking), supporting gays and using herbal soaps and their ITunes. Iranian students are no exception, they can tell you 50 different versions of Starbucks coffee but won't be able to count back five dynasties in Iran's history (there are of course exceptions).

The apathy is everywhere.

I would have recommended the Iranian students and faculty at the Columbia University to have asked in advance a private audiene with the Iranian President. I think he would have accepted it. There they could peacefully bring all these matters up and let him respond. Let him know that very few Iranians are pro-Pahlavi encore, let him know that Iranians abroad hold IRI responsible for not building a single oil refinary in 27 years so that Iran become so vulnerable for any gasoline blockade by its enemies. The list is long. Thanks





you gotta be kidding!

by tsinoizitna on

Students should protest and associate themselves with the anti-Iran and pro-israel crap????  Ahmadinejad is a crazy extremist and I want him out.  HOWEVER I will not support a US/israel supported attack or revolution.  As we must have learned in the 50s and late 70s, these fucks don't care about us.  The only changes they have brought onto our beautiful country is pure destruction.  I don't trust any of these AIPAC-ass-kissin politicians.  Wish we had more Ron Pauls running for President.  Just saw the democrat debate and sad that none of them could say one negative thing about their true MASTER, israel.  So take all your protest crap and shove it.  I'd rather see ALL Iranians protest, than have the muslims on one corner, jews on another, bahais on the other and some other fucked up special interest group on another.  Sad that we can't all agree that the safety of Iran, of our land is the first priority, then comes the minimization of fear, then comes the deterioration of control of this wack current iranian govt (through fear), then hopefully will come a better chance for us to be united. UNITY is key.  Looking for a leader that ONLY cares about the health and sovereignty of Iran!  Not of his fuckin religious group or his ethnic group (now we may have to argue just what is religion and what is ethnicity!) and etc.


God bless the students

by Anonymous2 (not verified) on

Thank god these students saw the fiasco and stayed clearly away from Zionist/CIA funded circus. As for Ahmadi, god bless him for scoring another high mark among the mostly ignorant President or should I say brain washed and well funded Jewish student protestors. This is a typical CIA operation in which they pay good sum to thugs to come and protest and then try their smear campaign to make a monster out of a character. It used to work in the 50's but the populations are getting smarter for this old game. I am curious to see is this so called President of this now ridiculous school plans to invite the real dictators/criminals like Mubarak, Elmert, Musharaf or even our boy Geogie for debate. I bet in case of Georgie, if he begins his insult he will be on the floor and on chock hold before he can mutter any worlds!!..This whole charade showed what the true meaning of democracy and civil society means and how ignorant a President of University is about Iranian political system and culture. God bless the mullahs for being smart and not falling in line with these jack asses!!


It was a different era the 1970's

by 1970's (not verified) on

The Iranian students of the 1970's came from the middle class families. In other words, they were supported by their families back in Iran to study overseas. There were 200,000 Iranian students at one point in time just in America. Thanks to the Shah's economy for making it possible for the Iranians to be able to send their kids overseas.


Of protest

by baback on

First, it would have been appropriate to provide a link to the student association's statement so that one could have a more informed understanding of their thinking.

 Second, a general comment. Iranians abroad have been generally averse to political protest when the risks are deemed high. They are more likely to protest when the risks seem to be receding. During the student protests in Iran, I am referring to the 18 Tir episode, when many had a rosy view of the outcome of the protest, large number of Iranians showed up in LA streets, chanting "Daaneshjoo hemaayatet mikonim". When the student protest were quelled, hardly anyone stepped into the streets to protest the treatment of the imprisoned students. 


here is why

by mrclass on

The so called student association in 1970's that used to protest against the shah was totaly paid and operated by Angelo American alliance. Their funding mainly came from Europe. They become more active in late 1970's about the same time that Angelo American alliance decided to get rid of the shah and over through him. unless you are so naive to believe  that was just a  coincidence!

As for inactivity of Reza Pahlavi, the reason is simple: he is not a charismatic leader. Chances are if he organizedf\ 1000 people, the media would have still ignored it! 

He did have large protest and fast in LA I think last year, what was the result? not much.



To 30 Something

by Old Man (not verified) on

Thank you for giving such dandoon shekan response to this old-fart-revolutionary, Setareh Sabety.


Iranian Students at Columbia

by 30 something (not verified) on

I'm so sick of middle aged Iranian leftist-refugee-veterans of the anti-Shah days --- people like Azar Nafisi AND Hamid Dabashi--- who talk about the "glory days" of the revolution....blah blah blah...

Maybe the reason why Columbia's Iranian students are not "revolutionaries" is because they've seen what happens when the idea of revolution is naively get something even worse than what you're fighting against....

Here's something you should have figured out in 1978: Khomeini was NOT Mao, Che, or Ghandi, he was a narrow-minded medieval priest who sent 500,000 teenagers to their death.

I'm glad Columbia's Iranian students are a little bit more cautious about politics. They've learned their lessons well.


Foad is another Islamic cock sucker....

by Anonymousr (not verified) on

Fuck you and Ahmadi nut job


The reason there was no protest is

by Anonymouswe (not verified) on

That many of the so called Iranian students in Columbia are on the payroll of Islamic Republic and their thugs...


To Ms Sabety

by Foad on

I have followed your writing in for number of years although recently less and less. Not withstanding the insults of Pahlavi cabals and Mojahedin Khalgh hacks,It is a delight to read your comments. I am sorry to say that I do not agree with you. Your last writing that got my attention was about France and how race is unknown word in France and your "Vive La France" Well now we have Mr Sarkozy and his political hacks who have become current bitches of GW. He was elected mainly because of his racist views. Truthfully no matter how involve CU Iranian students get it does not make a penny of difference. This is the mistake that Student confederation made in 70's. Iranian in Iran who are the driving force and at the final analysis they are the ones who decide. Treatment of  Ahmadinejad in this country will have just the opposite effect in Iran. He, the publicity hound with little to say, will make it big in Iran. The president of CU's verbal insults make him a victim rather than a mouth piece for the mullahs. If Americans don't know or they don't want to know but you know that his authority in Iran is very little. No Ms Sabety, at a time that neocons and Zionists are aching to start a war with Iran we, as Iranians who live in our comfortable little houses, should not provide them with more pretext to shed bloods of million Iranians at this time. Now is the time to stop Neocons and Zionists war mongers and not play into their hands. Sorry to disagree. Foad


TO: Double-edged Dick

by YO (not verified) on

Well, well, well, the hick has decided to hate spam the site, now ain't that cute?! How many more of these have you left on this site? This is the second one I ran into. Doesn't matter, as I said before: Yeah, whatever?!
But - Let's be real here, man. I know a lot of decent Americans too and most of my friends are Americans. But you're the portrayal of the ugly American. Fortunately, most of the people around the world can differentiate that fact. Now if you had an half a brain you would know to separate the the people of Iran from its government - they haven't done anything to you. If you read some of the articles in this site, you might get a good idea that not all Iranians are pro negative stuff internationally. But you just don't have the intellectual horse-power to see beyond your nose. You're blue-blooded alright, part of the almighty RED WHITE AND BLUE? Which after reading you're comment will stand for Redneck, White-Trash, and Blue Color!

Put that in your corn-pipe and smoke it, BUB! Now, go back to shoveling shit, and naming your pigs.


yo dick, suck this

by Triple edge Cock (not verified) on

You know what's so funny little poodle (Double-edged Pussy?your fucking piece of shit country called U shit of A is Israel. Yeah Israel is running you and your damn stupid ass government and you are so hopeless that like your helpless government have to go around and empty your anger on the civilized world and people. I would say I am about 100% sure that you are from Israel, but just in case you are not, I feel sorry that your country has been taken hostage and you've been fed news that the Israelis give you. By the way, my apologies to all the educated and well read Americans. I had to bring myself to Bush's level so the dick head could understand.


i agree, the student

by Anonymous_Flowers (not verified) on

i agree, the student association at colombia is pitaful. they need to shed more light on the human rights abuses, rather than remain indifferent and neutral.